News Local/State

Governor & AFSCME Agree To Extend Contract Through July

AFSCME union members rally in Springfield.

AFSCME union members rally in Springfield. (Lisa Ryan/WUIS)

This coming Tuesday, June 30th, is "deadline day" for state government.  It's the final day of the state fiscal year, after which, the current budget expires. And it's also the final days of the state's contract with its largest public employees union, AFSCME. But the latter deadline is being given a month-long extension.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the union have met at the bargaining table, but AFSCME leadership has described the two sides are far apart.

That -- combined with statements Rauner made before he was governor in which he said he'd be willing to let government shut down -- have raised the specter of a lockout. Not in July.

A joint statement released Thursday evening by Rauner's office and AFSCME says they've agreed to extend the current contract for one month.

"That allows both sides to continue to negotiate during July without the threat of disruption to the public services that union members provide", said AFSCME's Anders Lindall.

According to reports and leaked memos ... AFSCME is asking for pay raises and better health benefits ... while Rauner's demands include a wage freeze, requiring employees pay more for health care, and a new structure that allows for bonuses. Rauner reportedly also wants the state to no longer have to collect workers' union fees.

What happens come August if there's no agreement? That's something else they'll have to negotiate.